Whilst the primary function of film posters is to promote releases, some of the most iconic cinema in history has add great promotional artwork to match. Poland-based artist Grzegorz Domaradzki, also known as ‘Gabz’, has recreated some iconic film posters.
Gabz’ work displays not only a remarkable take on classic film posters but they allude to the central themes within each film. The vividity of the hues used in the pieces breathes new life into promotional film posters – and they are cinematic in their own right.
Gabz’ artwork highlights a fundamental yet undervalued craft. These striking pieces prove that Gabz has a deep love for film, and his passion for his craft acts as an inspiration for creatives everywhere. We were lucky enough to talk to the man himself, exclusively for COZYmag.
COZYMAG: What inspired you to recreate these iconic film posters?
Gabz: It all started with my love for the moving image, basically. Back in the (sic) days, it used to be all about me wanting to pay a tribute to a particular movie, director or acting performance that I enjoyed. I did it strictly for myself. That’s how my personal series entitled ‘Vector Movie Posters’ came to be.
I used to focus on one main character and used a slightly different technique as compared to the one I use now. After a while, I started receiving more and more proposals from different companies, galleries and individuals to work on some new projects nearly every month. Most of those were officially licensed (i.e., they got approved by the studio with the rights to a given title and actor(s)/actress(es) involved in the project), but some were also made as private commissions, which means they were not available to the public and are printed in a very limited run, only in a number that satisfies the group members that hire me for the job.
It’s very rewarding for me to be at the point in my life, where I can create art for cinema, which remains a great passion of mine.
CM: What process did you use?
G: I used to work in vectors, which I later remastered in Photoshop, but currently all my screen printed posters are made entirely in Photoshop. The concept is essential and sometimes it takes days before I come up with an idea bold enough to make it happen.
I start with a rough concept, which usually is extremely simplified and only gives a glimpse of the final idea. I then watch the movie (even if I know it very well – it is still good to see it again and to find out what should work on the poster), collect screen grabs and additional ideas. Once I have all the necessary reference material, including various angle shots of each character, many different backgrounds and stills, I make a more polished sketch which, then, has to be approved by the client.
The finalizing process includes precise tablet drawing, Lasso Tool in Photoshop and applying loads of extra shading and lights. This process needs to be repeated for every color, and although it is often very time consuming, the final result, especially when I see the final print, makes it all worthwhile.
CM: Which one is your favourite and why?
G: I Hope it won’t make me sound bad if I say, that I am happy with most of my posters and I have at least a few that I am particularly proud of… For various reasons.
In the True Romance print, for example, I really like the cupid concept, symbol of love, and how it portrays the title of the movie. On the other hand, everything that is going on inside the cupid captures the violent spirit of the movie, while, at the same time, it shows how unique the love between Clarence and Alabama was in Tony Scott’s film. I’m also very pleased with the typography on this one.
I still like Inception a lot and how it uses negative spaces to make the viewers focus their attention on all the details that are in the artwork. The idea of putting all characters and important plot points inside Robert Fischer’s head, where in fact the actual action takes place was, I think, a pretty cool one- and I’m very happy with how it turned out. Plus it was printed beautifully and the metallic colors truly shine here.
Finally Pacific Rim, which is one of the few prints I have made for a movie that had not been released when I was offered to work on it. The only thing I could refer to was the trailer, and given that, I am very happy with the final outcome here as well. Slightly propaganda-poster looking with the Gypsy Danger dominating the skyline… and I have to say this: the typography treatment on the Pacific Rim title, inspired by Katakana, still looks great in my humble opinion.
CM: The posters give insight into the films’ plots and themes, was that your intention?
G: Definitely. Though, I do enjoy simplified posters a lot, like the works of Olly Moss for example, in which he brilliantly portrays the film often using ultra minimalistic approach. I myself have always had love for the detail, even back when I was studying, I never missed an opportunity to include as much as possible into every inch of the paper I was drawing on.
This “more is more” approach has stayed with me to this day, so what you get from me in the end is a sort of collage of memorable characters and parts of the story, all arranged together, creating a complex and hopefully well-thought compositions. One of my main goals, apart from depicting the movie and its actors in the best way possible, is to create my prints in a way, that they reveal more from up close, while working as an iconic/symbolic image from further distance.
CM: Do you feel that film posters lack creative imagination nowadays?
G: Not every time, but definitely things are not as good as they used to be… While there are designers and studios that make great use of photography on official movie posters, like for example the very talented Neil Kellerhouse, in most cases, sadly enough, the final ‘product’ we get to see in the theatre is far from being original.
If you ask me, there are too many photography-based posters these days, again, with some great but rare exceptions. They often seem as if they were done by the same person. No doubt photography is a strong and popular medium, but most studios seem to forget that so much more can be achieved differently.
Back in the days when posters where mainly illustrated or painted, the viewer could truly imagine what movie they are about to experience. Now it is just far too obvious. Being a huge fan of the Polish Poster School, and many posters from that era, I wish studios and filmmakers would start paying more attention to things like that. It is not just an advert of the film. I believe that there is much more to it…
CM: That said, do you think that film posters are essential to the overall cinema experience?
G: I am not sure if essential is the right term here… By its very definition, a poster is supposed to advertise the product, which in this case is the movie. However, a well-designed poster can definitely add value to the cinema experience, at least in my opinion.
While not everyone might pay attention to the advertising campaign, various movie lovers, such as myself, find the poster to be an integral part of great cinematography. Not to mention that it can work as a piece of art for years to come.
A good poster needs to capture the film’s atmosphere without revealing the plot and to work as a sort of connection between the movie and the potential viewer(s). After all, the very first impression that the viewer gets after seeing the poster, might have an crucial impact on whether they will see the film or not.
CM: Speaking of which, what’s your favorite film?
G: I am a movie geek, so like any other movie nerd I cannot just pick one from the hundreds of the titles that come to my mind now… It would be simply too hard and quite frankly impossible. I have at least one for nearly every genre.
Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” would be at the top of my list for sure, since it is perfect on every possible level. The brilliant idea of adapting Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness and bringing its plot to the horrors of Vietnam war, to direction, cinematography, acting and music… just everything.
A truly top class war movie, next to The Deer Hunter and Saving Private Ryan which are probably the best ever created. But I also have to mention such films as Unforgiven, Amadeus, The Shining, Blade Runner, Boogie Nights, Memento, Raging Bull… I think I included pretty much all possible genres here?
CM: Are the posters on sale anywhere?
G: Though many people from around the globe strongly encourage me to do so I still have not been able to open a properly running shop. I wish I had more time for that and if shipping from Poland was not as expensive and time consuming as it is, it would have happened long time ago…
At this point, I would suggest visiting my website at http://iamgabz.com/, where underneath each project one should be able to find a link to a specific shop, if the print is still available.
CM: Have you got any more exciting projects on the horizon?
Luckily I have tons of work planned, so in short: Yes and plenty. I can’t reveal any details at this point, but I can tell you that there are at least three screen prints I have made for various clients that are to be announced and released in near future.
One is dedicated to a famous music icon and with this one I have paid yet another tribute to the Polish Poster School; another one is dedicated to my favorite comic character of all time, very iconic and quite different from what my followers are used to, and finally a print poster for one of the best action/drama films from the 90’s.
To add some more good news I have been currently in the process of sketching two other titles and I am in talks of delivering several more printed posters in the upcoming months of 2015… So do expect more good stuff coming from me ;)
You can find more of Gabz’ work here.
Interview by Jesse (@MarvinsCorridor)